"'My grandmother is in no danger,' said Irene, smiling.
Curdie took the princess again, and both turned their eyes to the globe of light. The same moment there shot from it a white bird, which, descending with outstretched wings, made one circle round the king and Curdie and the princess, and then glided up again. The light and the pigeon vanished together."
~from George MacDonald's book The Princess and the Goblin
Good Friday is about death, and contemplating death can be such a somber and sad proposition. How much the better to picture it as George MacDonald does in his fairy tale, as a a white bird soaring upward.
I thought of my teacher-friend Alice, who was laid to rest last week after reaching the age of 96. The obituary said simply "She was a longtime member of the First Baptist Church in Shenandoah. She taught Sunday School and was chairman of the May Breakfast for many years."
How inadequate those words are in expressing the "globe of light" that she was to me and to the stream of first graders who sat in the little wooden chairs in "her" class during the course of her (50 year?) ministry.
I don' t remember many specifics about what she taught me. But I do remember the love. Love that extended far beyond first grade. Love that meant sending me a chatty greeting card year after year on my birthday until she was unable to do so any longer (I was 50 years old by then).
I'm thankful that because of the death and resurrection of my Saviour, Jesus Christ, Alice has been released from her weak and frail body and is soaring in heavenly places like the white bird flying.
"But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, "Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?"
~ I Corinthians 15:54-55